“A long December and there’s reason to believe, Maybe this year will be better than the last….” – A Long December by Counting Crows
New Years Resolutions are definite not my thing, but leading up to January 2014 great plans were afoot to take the pop-up blogging world by storm. But at the end of December 2013, tragedy hit and life became a little more important. 2014 became filled with doing family time, enjoyable activities and finding a little bit of tranquillity. Unfortunately the chore of blogging didn’t fit into this but my creative art battled its way through. But now one year on at the start of a new year, I feel its time to return to the keyboard and go through some of the events, creative activities and stars that got me through the year that was 2014. So lets go backwards and start with Christmas.
The December evolution of Christmas cards brought about the usual random creative madness which in previous years had brought about acetate pictures, strange doodles, pop-up angels, multicolour reindeer heads, Japanese Paper Origami Christmas trees and last year snowy peaks with livestock. But this year, it had to be the year of the star.
The early development of these happened in the usual manner. First of all during November, the ritual of buying random items which could be used to make cards. This years items included small paper decorations, cloth gift tags, a stack of cards of different sizes and an intriguing set of recycled wood stars of various sizes from Paperchase. This became the focus for the start of the making
Idea 1 (first thoughts). Taking some small square canvases in white and beige and sticking the wooden stars to them. Very quick to do and achieving a look both classy and rustic at the same time. What was very striking was the texture of the recycled wood next to the canvas. The only problem with this was I had only 6 canvasses and couldn’t get any more.
Idea 2 (Panic development). In need of a few cards for Record Player people, I needed another quick solution. Using white placecards as a base and placing one small wooden star on the front making a striking and minimalist card. Inside a star lyric, of which none had anything to do with Christmas itself…. For example, Buggles – Video killed the radio star, Radiohead – Black Star, Deep Purple – Highway Star and David Bowie – Starman. Later some larger white cards with numerous stars would be created
About the same time we put up our Christmas decorations. I love putting up the Christmas tree and arranging our eclectic collection of trinkets, baubles and weirdness. Our decorations vary from 3 frog kings to angel cats, stained glass trees/icicles to wooden birds/reindeer, and plain white paper decorations to glittery baubles. Every year we get a few new additions, this year a Highland Cow, a few delicate Rennie Macintosh decorations and 3 glass panels featuring snowflakes/stars cut out of books. We used to have a cool star for the top of the tree which would light up, but last year we discovered it had broke. To remedy this, we decided to create something each year to replace it, and in 2013, Steph did a fab job of creating a constellation of origami stars that balanced precariously on top of the tree.
So 2014, was my year and I had an idea was to create a 6x6x6 cm cube (predictably) with a star on each face. Usually I would painstakingly draw this, as I have every other cube I had ever created, using a ruler and pencil and then created a template of a star to draw around on each side. This time before I started, I searched in vane for a suitable star shape. I decided to look in word art and grab an image from there. It was then it suddenly hit me. Why don’t I just create the cube design completely in word allowing the precise position of multiple stars and then this would create a template for the future. To be honest I was embarrassed I had not done this before. So after a few minutes I had created a cube template, placed the stars and created a gap for the cube to fit onto the tree. This was printed onto the reverse of 210gsm Silver card, cut out with scalpel/scissors and then scrap pieces of card and paper sought for the stars. All different colours with a number of different medium used including acetates, Japanese origami papers and glittery shiny card. Once all stars were covered on the inside, the simple assembly took place and I had a star cube. I was a little worried about whether it could sit on top of the tree because of the weight, but it fitted and sat perfectly. It was only then, I realised we could insert one of the lcd lights (as they don’t heat up) and all of a sudden three stars would light up. What I love about the cube, it that because of its unnatural position, its clean lines and silverness, it has a real ominous Sci-fi thing going on.
So card idea 3 (Miniaturise). The majority of cards I make are for friends and work mates and this has to be a quick and easy. Usually I can find something that looks intricate, corporates basic paper engineering techniques but is comparatively quick to process. This year I decided to go with the cubes with stars. This wouldn’t ever have crossed my mind because of the time to it would take to draw out numerous boxes.
But now I had a template which I reduced down to cubes of 3.2×3.2×3.2cm with a single star which allowed me to fit three to an A4 page. These were systematically cut out and a range of paper and card was used to ‘colour in’ the stars. In total 26 mini cubes were created, the majority different from each other. I loved these for their simplicity and clean look.
Card Idea 4 (Personalise). As this year we were in Scotland we took the cubes a step further by personalising a few. I created a 3.9cm medium sized cube with stars on 5 faces, but instead of having random coloured papers on each star, we picked out a few appropriate images for each person. On Heathers cube, a sailing boat and Plymouths Lighthouse appears. On Stephs Mam and Dads, their siamese cats and a Tennants Beer label. On Stu, Suzanne and Graces, a green Cthulhu, a green dragon and Green Lego.
As we had one medium Cube template left, we took it up to Scotland with different types of card and paper and let our niece Grace create her own cube. The craft sessions of making baubles and R2D2 masks at the Edmond household over Christmas were one of many highlights of a lovely time away with Family. It started with crisis with two days before Christmas, a flood in the attic, created a water feature in Graces and our bedroom. Later a ceiling would fall in but gratefully no-one was injured. Thoughout this, it was impressive that with family (and insurance) support that this was quickly resolved and to the credit of mainly Suz and Stu, Christmas went off without a hitch and was as excellent and peaceful as always.
At Christmas 2013, I had a major crisis, and as above, with the support of family, close friends and web mates, I managed to cope and get through the year that was 2014. For that you are all stars and I thank you.